The Susquehannock field hockey team has undergone plenty of change recently.
Longtime head coach Sharon McLaughlin has retired after 15 seasons, departing on the heels of a 15-4 season that included a trip to the district playoffs.
The Warriors also lose nine of last year’s starters to graduation. But at Friday's fall sports media day, new head coach Tracy Kerr said the team is in a good position to sustain its recent success.
“We’re going to be okay,” Kerr said. “We’re going to have a good core on both offense and defense. I believe we have enough girls to make it work.”
For Kerr and the Warriors five seniors, this season will be somewhat of a reunion. The upperclassmen were coached by Kerr during their JV days, and both sides are excited to re-establish the relationship.
Although Kerr took the past few seasons off from coaching, she continued to watch the games because her daughter was in the program. So while she may have some rest to shake off, she said she has a good sense of the team’s strengths and weaknesses.
“It’s neat to see that I was at them at the beginning and they’ve stuck with this passion for all these years,” Kerr said. “I’ve been watching them progress all through high school.”
Forward Brooke Morris and defender Emily Schertle are the Warriors' two returning starters. Both said that while it’ll be tough to match last season’s win total, they’re excited to take on larger roles.
“I know that there’s a lot of girls that need to step up, positions are probably going to change but I’m excited to see how we do.”
Another field hockey team that once again has high expectations is Dallastown. But unlike Susquehannock, the Wildcats bring back 15 seniors and six returning starters from last season’s 18-3 team.
The Wildcats are gunning for their fifth straight Division I title in 2016, but also their eyes set on the state tournament after missing it by one game last season.
“I think a way for all of (the seniors) to look at it is this is the last of everything,” assistant coach Molly Senft said. “It’s time to make the most of everything and finish strong.”